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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

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    I've seen my share of attempts to make an elementalist class (made some myself in the past… unsuccessfully I might add).
    The main problems I've noticed are as follows:
    If an attempt was made to create 4 separate classes, the result was very asymmetrical, leading to evident priority in level of power between them.
    If an attempt was made to create a single class that had access to all 4 elements, the result was never versatile enough to make a decent class that stood on its own.

    It is long overdue to create a class that dominates all elements and elemental powers and has the ability to play with the big boys.

    Hit Dice: d8
    Table: The Elementalist
    Saves Max SLA Level
    Level BAB F R W Special 1st Element 2nd Element 3rd Element 4th Element
    1
    +0 +2 +2 +2 Elemental Body, Elemental Empathy, Elemental Powers, First Element Access
    1
    2
    +1 +3 +3 +3 Rebuke Elementals
    1
    3
    +2 +3 +3 +3
    2
    4
    +3 +4 +4 +4 Second Element Access
    2
    1
    5
    +3 +4 +4 +4 First Elemental Form
    3
    1
    6
    +4 +5 +5 +5 Elemental Strike
    3
    2
    7
    +5 +5 +5 +5 Third Element Access
    4
    2
    1
    8
    +6 +6 +6 +6 Second Elemental Form
    4
    3
    1
    9
    +6 +6 +6 +6
    5
    3
    2
    10
    +7 +7 +7 +7 Fourth Element Access
    5
    4
    2
    1
    11
    +8 +7 +7 +7 Third Elemental Form
    6
    4
    3
    1
    12
    +9 +8 +8 +8 Elemental Travel
    6
    5
    3
    2
    13
    +9 +8 +8 +8 Living Elemental
    7
    5
    4
    2
    14
    +10 +9 +9 +9 Fourth Elemental Form
    7
    6
    4
    3
    15
    +11 +9 +9 +9
    8
    6
    5
    4
    16
    +12 +10 +10 +10 Two-Elements Form
    8
    7
    6
    5
    17
    +12 +10 +10 +10
    9
    8
    7
    6
    18
    +13 +11 +11 +11 Three-Elements Form
    9
    9
    8
    7
    19
    +14 +11 +11 +11
    9
    9
    9
    8
    20
    +15 +12 +12 +12 Four-Elements Form
    9
    9
    9
    9



    Class Features

    Class Skills: Balance, Climb, Craft, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, Survival and Swim.
    Skill Points per level: 4 + Int-mod.

    Weapon and armor proficiency: elementalists are proficient with all simple weapons. They’re proficient with light armor but not with shields.



    Elemental Body
    As levels accumulate, an elementalist's body drifts, becoming tougher and hardier.
    Armor: An elementalist gains natural armor bonus to AC equal to his Con-bonus + 1 / Elementalist class level.
    Elemental Resistance: An elementalist gains elemental resistance equal to 5 / odd Elementalist class level involving his first accessible element. Resistance to additional elements trail those values by 3 / 6 / 9 levels respectively. Upon reaching Elemental Resistance 30, an elementalist instead gains immunity to the given element (i.e. gaining elemental immunity to his 4th element at level 20).


    Elemental Empathy (Ex)
    An elementalist starts play knowing the language associated with his primary element: Aquan (Water) / Auran (Air) / Ignan (Fire) / Terran (Earth).
    An elementalist also gains the ability to influence the attitude of low-Int planar creatures with the Elemental type of his primary element, much like a druid of equal level can influence animals with Animal Empathy.
    The character's class level counts as 3 / 6 / 9 levels below when dealing with creatures associated with his secondary / tertiary / quaternary element respectively.


    Elemental Powers (Sp)
    An elementalist starts his career focused on a single element (First Element). With level progression, more elements become accessible (Second / Third / Fourth Element), as shown in the table above.
    An elementalist gains spell-like abilities associated with his accessible elements. At each level an elementalist gains 2 SLAs for each element he has access to: 2 SLAs at levels 1-3, 4 SLAs at levels 4-6, 6 SLAs at levels 7-9 and 8 SLAs per level starting at 10th Elementalist level.
    A SLA may emulate a spell from any fullcaster's list, as long as the emulated spell's primary effect is based on the element in question, and the spell is an Abjuration/Conjuration/Enchantment/Evocation/Transmutation spell.
    For each element:
    1. When a power level is gained, an elementalist may use powers from that level a total number of 3 times per day.
    2. At the following Elementalist level, the character may use powers from the said SL 5 times per day and that's it.
    * The above numbers are not influenced by the actual number of powers known of a given level.
    The DC of all elemental powers is Cha-based.
    For each element you have access to, you may retrain a single spell effect you have access to upon gaining a level at which you do not gain a new elemental power (e.g. 4th level end every even level thereafter for your primary element).
    Every time an elementalist gains a new class level, he may retrain a single SLA per accessible element.


    Rebuke Elementals (Su)
    At 2nd level, an elementalist gains the ability rebuke and command planar creatures with the Elemental type, much like a cleric of equal level can influence undead with Rebuke Undead.
    An elementalist may only rebuke elemental creatures associated with elements to which he has access. The character's class level counts as 3 / 6 / 9 levels lower when dealing with creatures associated with his secondary / tertiary / quaternary element respectively.


    Elemental Form (Su)
    At 5th level, an elementalist gains the ability to assume the form of an elemental from his first accessible element.
    An assumed elemental form's HD may not exceed twice the elementalist's class level.
    When assuming Elemental Form, use all the rules given for Wild Shape.
    The total number of daily minutes an elementalist may assume Elemental Form of a given element equals 1 / Elementalist class level.
    An elementalist's class level counts as 3 / 6 / 9 levels lower for all applications that involve his secondary / tertiary / quaternary element respectively.


    Elemental Strike (Su)
    At 6th level, an elementalist's melee attacks (unarmed strikes, natural weapons and wielded manufactured weapons) count as Flaming Burst weapons (with respect to his primary element). At levels 9 / 12 / 15, an elementalist may swap the damage to match his secondary / tertiary / quaternary element respectively.


    Elemental Travel (Su)
    At 12th level, an elementalist may once per day Plane Shift to his primary element's plane. The elementalist and all companions gain elemental adaptation. The elementalist may return to the material prime as a move action at any time he so wishes. Only the ones that had accompanied him to the elemental plane may return with him, as detailed for Plane Shift. At levels 15 / 18 / 20, an elementalist may travel to the elemental plane of his secondary / tertiary / quaternary element respectively.


    Living Elemental (Ex)
    At level 13, an elementalist becomes a living elemental, gaining Elemental Traits even without assuming elemental form. The character also gains Damage Reduction 5/–.
    Embodying the aspects of his primary element, an elementalist gains a +2 increase to his Str (Fire) / Dex (Air) / Con (Earth) / Wis (Water)
    The elementalist also gains the special attacks and movement modes of elementals from his primary element (e.g. Drench / Earth Glide / etc.) even without assuming elemental form. At levels 16 / 18 / 20, he also gains the special attacks and movement modes of elementals from his secondary / tertiary / quaternary element respectively, as well as the attribute increase of the corresponding element.
    An elementalist is an over overlord of the elements, not someone bound by them. He does not lose his dual nature, which allows resurrection via normal means. Also, this change does not make the elementalist susceptible to Turn/Rebuke Elementals ability (regardless of where that ability comes from).
    A living elemental's body is tied to the very fabric of the stuff that makes the world, thus he stops aging and becomes immune to any attack based on aging or dying of oldage.


    Two-Elements Form (Su)
    Upon gaining 16th level, when assuming Elemental Form, an elementalist enjoys all the benefits of 2 different elementals (a sort of gestalt elemental).
    When assuming Two-Elements Form, the form's maximum HD is restricted to that of the inferior element of the two.


    Three-Elements Form (Su)
    Upon gaining 18th level, when assuming Elemental Form, an elementalist enjoys all the benefits of 3 different elementals.
    When assuming Two-Elements Form, the form's maximum HD is restricted to that of the inferior element of the three.


    Four-Elements Form (Su)
    Upon gaining 20th level, when assuming Elemental Form, an elementalist enjoys all the benefits of all 4 elementals.
    When assuming Two-Elements Form, the form's maximum HD is restricted to that of the inferior element of them all.





    Elementalist Feats
    Spoiler
    Show

    Chosen Elemental Metamagic [General]
    Prerequisites: At least one metamagic version feat of a SLA from one of your accessible elements.
    Benefit: From this point and on, any metamagic version feat of a SLA from your chosen element applies to all relevant powers of your chosen element.

    Extra Elemental Powers [General]
    Prerequisites: Elementalist level 1.
    Benefit: You gain an additional elemental power of each of the four elements to which you have access. You may choose any level of power, as long as it's at least one level below the highest level you have access to.
    Extra elemental powers may be retrained to powers of equal level or lower.

    Practiced Elementalist [General]
    Prerequisites: Elementalist level 1.
    Benefit: Your Elementalist level counts as up to 4 levels higher than it actually is for all intents and purposes other than gaining new class abilities or access to new SLAs (via Elemental Powers feature), capped by your character level.
    Special: This calculation is done separately for each element you have access to. Your CL regarding your secondary element is capped by your Elementalist class level minus one - even if you don't gain the entire 4-levels increase (when your ECL is below your Elementalist class level +4).
    Special: You may take this feat for the second time. In such case, your CL regarding your tertiary/quaternary element is capped by your Elementalist class level minus two/three (respectively).

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

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    6 days and 83 views, but no feedbacks
    Is it that amazing that people are just speechless?
    But seriously, I don't know if I've achieved my design goals.
    Is this class adequately comprehensible? Is it easy to figure out, or is something unclear?
    Can this class handle itself reasonably in a decently built party? Can it be a pivotal factor in a group, or just another 5th wheel?
    Is the class lacking in any way? Is there any aspect of the "Elemental Master" archetype that stands out as missing?
    Did I overdo anything?
    Going for spell-like abilities instead of spells – is it a good design choice?
    Do the proposed feats seem reasonable?
    Is there anything in the class features that feels awkward to manage during game time and that would require too much bookkeeping?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

    I don't usually review caster-type, but I'll take a shot I guess?

    It has reasonably good power levels in terms of spell levels, but will often struggle with consistency- where a regular caster will be able to cast Fireball four or five times per day, this class will cast it twice, then be forced to swap to something else. Clarifying whether they can select the same spell multiple times would help with this to a certain extent, but it's still awkward- it feels like taking the worst parts of prepared and spontaneous spellcasting:
    If a spell you picked is bad or situational:
    -You can't use the spell slots to cast something else like a sorcerer
    -You can't prepare a different spell like a wizard

    The class will almost always bring some degree of blasting, but I suspect it will struggle with utility options, variable with whatever options the DM allows. A lenient or reasonable DM will probably let this class shine, but it still suffers from the issue noted above.

    I'm unclear on what Two-Element Form and its evolutions actually do. For example, what happens to your ability scores when you become an Earth/Air elemental?

    Practiced Elementalist feels like a feat tax at first glance.

    Other notes:
    I very much like that the requirement is that it be "based on" the relevant element. While it threw me off at first, I like it a lot more than trying for specific descriptors.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    It has reasonably good power levels in terms of spell levels, but will often struggle with consistency- where a regular caster will be able to cast Fireball four or five times per day, this class will cast it twice, then be forced to swap to something else. Clarifying whether they can select the same spell multiple times would help with this to a certain extent, but it's still awkward- it feels like taking the worst parts of prepared and spontaneous spellcasting:
    If a spell you picked is bad or situational:
    -You can't use the spell slots to cast something else like a sorcerer
    -You can't prepare a different spell like a wizard
    Hmm, I get what you're saying.
    I tried to create a unified SLAs Per Day table, but couldn't get it to work properly with the split progression rate of the different elements.

    Thinking about 2 known powers per level per element... That's a bit high a number, but not too high to manage i guess.
    Combined with the ability to select the same spell multiple times, this should grant a player a lot of build flexibility.
    This would require me to redefine the power retraining rules, since you'll be getting one at every level. Any suggestions?




    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    The class will almost always bring some degree of blasting, but I suspect it will struggle with utility options, variable with whatever options the DM allows. A lenient or reasonable DM will probably let this class shine, but it still suffers from the issue noted above.
    I sure wouldn't wanna count on a lenient DM.
    I believe that the above solution remedies this problem a bit.
    I considered adding Advanced Learning at each level divisible by 3 (from the Abjuration/Conjuration/Enchantment/Evocation/Transmutation schools), but I'm concerned that it might make the class drift too far from the elemental theme.
    Another odd result would be if a character's first two elements are Earth and Water, and he took Fly spell at 6th level using Advanced Learning.
    Your thoughts?...


    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I'm unclear on what Two-Element Form and its evolutions actually do. For example, what happens to your ability scores when you become an Earth/Air elemental?
    The better of both, with the HD limited by your more inferior element.



    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Practiced Elementalist feels like a feat tax at first glance.
    Yes it does, but I see no way around it at current, except for granting immediate access to all 4 elements, which I have plenty of reasons to oppose.
    It's only 2 feats for evening things out a lot if you're a single-class Elementalist.
    It's also not mandatory for a character to excel in all 4 elements. If one wishes to excel in a single element and save some feats for char-op, I see no problem with that.

  5. - Top - End - #5

    Default Re: Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

    My thoughts...

    *It is missing ''speak elemental languages'', and eventually ''speak telepathically with elementals''.


    *I don't really like the idea of one element at a time over several levels as that does not feel ''elementalist'' . Like an X level character would be all good with say fire and earth, but be useless vs water or air. I think it would work better to get low powered abilities for each un-chosen element.

    So like: An elementalist gains elemental resistance equal to 5 / odd Elementalist class level to the first chosen element, but also gets 2/level to all the others. Until they get to a level spot where they can ''ungrade'' it to full power.

    *I think an elemenetalist should be able to rebuke and command elementals.

    *Elemental Strike needs to be able to effect weapons too, not just touch attacks.

    The higher level powers seem to fade a bit...just ''elemental body''.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

    While buffing up the number of abilities gained helps with the issue of running out of important abilities, it feels like it's throwing power into the class to make up for an awkward system. (Incidentally, I had the same problem with how shadowcasters used their mysteries).

    The other issue with this is that, well, now there's a whole lot of pressure on the player. Between 2 and 8 selections per level is a lot, and a player ends their career with around 120 selections made, or a total of around 240 total uses of abilities, each of which is tracked separately.

    I'm just not convinced that the SLA model is one which works well for a full caster.


    ------------

    To clarify, I actually like allowing any ability that the DM allows as elementally related. I am firmly convinced that there is no way you can define the "rules" for learning abilities such that an elementalist can learn fly, but can't learn secret page (TIL it's a transmutation).

    Yeah, this means that the degree to which this class can do stuff out of combat is DM-dependent. However, I think that there's really no other way to handle it well.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    *It is missing ''speak elemental languages'', and eventually ''speak telepathically with elementals''.
    Speak elemental languages – without a doubt.
    Telepathy... while I'm a big fan of telepathy, I don't recall it ever being associated with elementals in any way shape or form.



    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    *I don't really like the idea of one element at a time over several levels as that does not feel ''elementalist'' . Like an X level character would be all good with say fire and earth, but be useless vs water or air. I think it would work better to get low powered abilities for each un-chosen element.
    1. Notice that the class grants a lot of known powers per level (8, starting at 10th level). You wouldn't be able to justify that if the class starts with access to all 4 elements.
    2. Usually, classes that are associated with the elements have an affinity to a single element. Just seems natural to me that one would learn them one at a time (and in a way that would maintain an elegant table spread).
    3. Accessing elements one at a time gives a sense of achievement at every level all the way up to 20.
    4. The class eventually catches up on all 4 elements, with almost an equal mastery when taking Practiced Elemental – which gives a strong incentive to remain a single-classed character (which is a good thing in my view).



    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    So like: An elementalist gains elemental resistance equal to 5 / odd Elementalist class level to the first chosen element, but also gets 2/level to all the others. Until they get to a level spot where they can ''ungrade'' it to full power.
    I'm afraid it would not make sense to have elemental resistance to an element that the character has no association with, and it would make the description more cumbersome for a relatively negligible effect.



    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    *I think an elemenetalist should be able to rebuke and command elementals.
    It gets that at 2nd level. even though it's a given for emulating Rebuke Undead, I'll mention the command part though.



    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    *Elemental Strike needs to be able to effect weapons too, not just touch attacks.
    I did say "melee", not natural. But I'll clarify later on when I have the time.



    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    The higher level powers seem to fade a bit...just ''elemental body''.
    Multiple elements in a single body is nothing to sneer at.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    While buffing up the number of abilities gained helps with the issue of running out of important abilities, it feels like it's throwing power into the class to make up for an awkward system. (Incidentally, I had the same problem with how shadowcasters used their mysteries).

    The other issue with this is that, well, now there's a whole lot of pressure on the player. Between 2 and 8 selections per level is a lot, and a player ends their career with around 120 selections made, or a total of around 240 total uses of abilities, each of which is tracked separately.
    You're right – too much power on one hand and too much bookkeeping on the other.
    What if I made it so that for each element:
    1. When a power level is gained, an elementalist may use powers from that level a total number of 3 times per day.
    2. At the following Elementalist level, the character may use powers from the said SL 5 times per day.
    3. Two levels after a power level is gained, the number of uses increases to 6 and that's it.
    • The above numbers are not influenced by the actual number of powers known of a given level.



    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I'm just not convinced that the SLA model is one which works well for a full caster.
    There are two reasons why I went for SLAs rather than spells:
    1. An elementalist shouldn't have to rely on material components for any of his powers when the material prime is made of the four elements. They're all around him all the time*.
    2. An elementalist's access to elemental powers should be innate, not knowledge based.
    * But that does rais an interesting question what happens on other planes (and elemental plane on one hand; the plane of shadows on the other). Maybe I can just settle on the powers being innate and call it a day.


    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    To clarify, I actually like allowing any ability that the DM allows as elementally related. I am firmly convinced that there is no way you can define the "rules" for learning abilities such that an elementalist can learn fly, but can't learn secret page (TIL it's a transmutation).

    Yeah, this means that the degree to which this class can do stuff out of combat is DM-dependent. However, I think that there's really no other way to handle it well.
    Exactly. Burdening the DM to make personal judgement calls on game rules is not a good design.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

    You're right – too much power on one hand and too much bookkeeping on the other.
    What if I made it so that for each element:
    1. When a power level is gained, an elementalist may use powers from that level a total number of 3 times per day.
    2. At the following Elementalist level, the character may use powers from the said SL 5 times per day.
    3. Two levels after a power level is gained, the number of uses increases to 6 and that's it.
    • The above numbers are not influenced by the actual number of powers known of a given level.
    There are two reasons why I went for SLAs rather than spells:
    1. An elementalist shouldn't have to rely on material components for any of his powers when the material prime is made of the four elements. They're all around him all the time*.
    2. An elementalist's access to elemental powers should be innate, not knowledge based.
    * But that does rais an interesting question what happens on other planes (and elemental plane on one hand; the plane of shadows on the other). Maybe I can just settle on the powers being innate and call it a day.
    To clarify, by the "SLA model" I mean the one in which every single ability has its abilities tracked separately. I'm not concerned with whether they're classified as spells or spell-like abilities.

    But, it occurs to me that the new system of casting spells is really only one or two steps removed from spontaneous casting- stuff like "you can expend a 'spell slot' of a higher level to cast a 'spell'", basically.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

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    Default Re: Elementalist - master of the 4 elements (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    To clarify, by the "SLA model" I mean the one in which every single ability has its abilities tracked separately. I'm not concerned with whether they're classified as spells or spell-like abilities.
    Notice that "A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus or have an XP cost".
    Anyway, thinking of things once more, I don't really need 6 daily uses. I can remove the last step and settle for 5 per SL per element, ending up with 45 + 45 +45 + 43 = 178 daily uses at level 20 (instead of 248), and also avoid the need to track them individually.
    When all you can do is elemental stuff, you're not even T2, so more daily output evens things up vs. spellcasters.



    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    But, it occurs to me that the new system of casting spells is really only one or two steps removed from spontaneous casting- stuff like "you can expend a 'spell slot' of a higher level to cast a 'spell'", basically.
    It doesn't really feel like the Elementalist needs that option. I would pass it up to further differentiate elementalism from spellcasting.

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